The father often seems to have walked the same path as the protagonist. Or turns out to be crucially important to the plot and the puppetmaster behind a lot of things/people. The father has the same talents and sort of friends the protagonist has. The older generation seems to be a copy of the younger one, and not actual individuals. The father is mysterious and aloof, emotionally unavailable and his actions of the past are often emotionally scarring for the protagonist. Sins of the father: the protagonist has to make right what his father started but could not finish. Or he has to make right what his father made wrong.